Daniel Jacob Radcliffe - biography
Daniel Jacob Radcliffe (born 23 July 1989) is an English actor who rose to prominence playing the titular character in the Harry Potter film series adapted from the book series of the same name. Radcliffe has also made appearances in stage productions and a number of TV shows and films, including the ITV film My Boy Jack and the stage show Equus, for which he was nominated for a Drama Desk Award.
Radcliffe was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital, Hammersmith, West London, England, the only child of Alan George Radcliffe, a literary agent, and Marcia Jeannine Gresham (née Marcia Gresham Jacobson), a casting agent who was involved in several films for the BBC, including The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and, most recently, Walk Away And I Stumble. Radcliffe's mother is Jewish and a native of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex (her family's surname was anglicised from "Gershon"); his father, originally from Northern Ireland, is Protestant.
Radcliffe first expressed a desire to act at the age of five. In December 1999, aged ten, he realised his ambition and made his acting debut in the BBC's televised two-part adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield, portraying the title character as a young boy.
Radcliffe was educated at two independent schools for boys: Sussex House School, a day school in Cadogan Square in Chelsea in London, and the City of London School, a day school in the City of London, where he studied for AS levels. He achieved A grades in the three AS-levels he sat in 2006, but then decided to take a break from education, and did not go to college or university.
Radcliffe was asked to audition for the role of Harry Potter in 2000 by producer David Heyman, while in attendance at a London production of Stones in His Pockets. In August of that year, after several auditions, he was selected to play the role in the big-budget adaptation of the award-winning book series by J.K. Rowling. Rowling herself also approved of this selection: "Having seen Dan Radcliffe's screen test I don't think Chris Columbus could have found a better Harry". Radcliffe made his film debut in 2001 with a supporting role alongside Pierce Brosnan in The Tailor of Panama, and the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was released later that year.
Radcliffe has also starred in the five subsequent Harry Potter film adaptations: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009). He has signed on for the seventh, and eighth films; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I and II, expected in 2010 and 2011. Radcliffe is 'very happy' that the decision has been made to split the last film into two parts, as he doesn't believe that anything should be cut out of the climactic book. The films continue to produce high box office results worldwide.
At the age of 16, Radcliffe became the youngest non-royal ever to have an individual portrait in Britain's National Portrait Gallery. On 13 April 2006, his portrait, drawn by Stuart Pearson Wright, was unveiled as part of a new exhibition opening at London's Royal National Theatre, then moved to the National Portrait Gallery where it resides. Radcliffe was 14 at the time of the portrait's creation.
In 2006, he began to make the transition from child to adult actor, appearing in the television series Extras as a parody of himself, as well as filming the independent Australian drama December Boys. The film, which was filmed in six weeks was released in North America by Warner Bros. on 14 September 2007. Radcliffe worked with a language coach for six months to perfect an Australian accent. He took the role because he wanted to appear in a film in which he played a supporting role rather than the central character. Next, During the summer of 2007, he filmed the ITV drama My Boy Jack, based upon the true story of Rudyard Kipling's son's death in battle during the First World War, which aired in the United Kingdom on Remembrance Day 2007 and premiered in the United States on 20 April 2008. In the film, Radcliffe played Jack Kipling, a World War I-era soldier and the son of author Rudyard Kipling.
About the role, he stated: "For many people my age, the First World War is just a topic in a history book. But I've always been fascinated by the subject and think it's as relevant today as it ever was."
On 9 July 2007, Radcliffe and fellow Harry Potter cast members Rupert Grint and Emma Watson left imprints of their hands, feet, and wands in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
It was announced in the New York Times on 28 December 2007 that Radcliffe will portray deceased photojournalist Dan Eldon in an upcoming biopic entitled Journey or The Journey is the Destination. Eldon's mother, Kathy, personally chose Radcliffe over other actors such as Heath Ledger, Ryan Phillippe and Joaquin Phoenix, noting Radcliffe's "puckishness, sense of humour and energy" as similar to her son's. Radcliffe will also star in the 2011 adaptation of The Woman in Black, a 1983 ghost story by Susan Hill, which has previously been filmed as a made-for-televion movie and adapted for the stage.
In 2002, Radcliffe appeared as a guest in the West End production The Play What I Wrote directed by Kenneth Branagh (who appeared with Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as Professor Lockhart).
Radcliffe opened on 27 February 2007 in a revival of Peter Shaffer's play Equus as Alan Strang, a stable boy who has an obsession with horses. The role generated significant pre-opening media interest and advance sales topped £2 million, as Radcliffe appeared nude in one scene in the play. Radcliffe's performance received positive reviews, as critics were impressed by the nuance and depth of his against-type role. Radcliffe's last performance in Equus took place on 9 June 2007. The production then transferred to Broadway in New York City opening on 25 September 2008, where Radcliffe reprised the role of Alan Strang along with Richard Griffiths, who was also in the Equus production in London and played Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter series. Prior to the play's opening he stated that he was nervous about repeating the role on Broadway because he considered American audiences more discerning than those in London.
It was reported that Radcliffe will play J. Pierrepont Finch in a 2011 Broadway revival of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Radcliffe has stated that he is an atheist and also "very proud of being Jewish." He is a fan of punk rock music and admires a diverse lineup of bands, from Sex Pistols and The Libertines to Arctic Monkeys and more recently Hard-Fi, Jack Peñate and Kate Nash. His favourite band is The Hold Steady. In November 2007, Radcliffe published several poems under the pen name Jacob Gershon.
Radcliffe appeared on the Sunday Times Rich List in 2006, which estimated his personal fortune to be GB£14 million, making him one of the richest young people in the United Kingdom. He made another appearance on the British young people's rich list in 2007, which placed him as the 33rd richest young person in Britain with an estimated wealth of £17 million. He is reported to have earned £1 million for the first Potter film, around £5.6 million for the fourth film, and more than £8 million for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In 2010, Radcliffe was reported to have personal asssets of £28.5 million, making him richer than Princes William and Harry. Despite his wealth, Radcliffe has said he does not have expensive tastes. His main expense is buying books: "I read a lot."
Radcliffe has been a supporter of various charities, including Demelza House Children's Hospice in Sittingbourne, Kent, to which he has requested fans make donations in lieu of birthday presents. In February 2005, Radcliffe put a "Hogwarts Crew" T-shirt which he autographed up for auction to help raise money for the Tsunami victims in 2005. His T-shirt was part of the Tsunami Clothes Auction that raised money for the Rebuilding Sri Lanka Organization. He wore the T-shirt during the making of the film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. These T-shirts were only issued to members of the cast and crew. His shirt raised £520.
In a 2009 issue of Attitude, Radcliffe announced his support for the Liberal Democrats. Radcliffe also positions himself as a gay rights activist by speaking out against homophobia and filmed a public service announcement for The Trevor Project promoting awareness of gay teen suicide prevention. He has also contributed financially to The Trevor Project.
He has become a keen follower of cricket and attended the first England v India test match on his 18th birthday. He queued up for the autographs of Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and English opening batsman Andrew Strauss at the end of the final day's play. Regarding this, he stated:
I was telling people in a recent interview that I had a dream that Andrew Strauss was chasing me with a cricket bat. It was during the West Indies series when Andrew wasn’t doing too well and an Australian who was listening in piped up and said, "I wouldn’t worry about Strauss, if he had a swing at you at the moment he’d probably miss."
Radcliffe has stated that he suffers from a mild form of the neurological disorder dyspraxia.